by Daniel R. Weiss
In this week’s Torah portion, Yitro, Moses receives the first set of Tablets, containing the Ten Commandments from God. These Ten Commandments are less than two percent of the total commandment given to the Jewish People, yet they get a tremendous amount of attention throughout history.
Some commentators suggest that the Ten Commandments can represent ten distinct categories. The categories embody the essence of what it means to be a Jew.
Rabbi Moses ben Maimon (Rambam, Maimonides) suggests that there are 13 principles of faith that a Jew must believe in order to be resolute in one’s faith. To Rambam, they are the essence of what it means to be Jewish. These principles are different than commandments. They aren’t written in a positive or negative away (do or don’t do). Each starts with the phrase “I believe”. They are the core beliefs or core values of Judaism.
Our school has a mission and vision. Our mission is “To provide all Jewish children a superior education, while inspiring them to achieve their individual potential.” Our vision is “To motivate and prepare our students to become highly educated citizens and community leaders.”
Both the mission and the vision are found on our website as well as on a sign in each room in our building. Beneath the Mission and Vision are our Core Values.
These Core Values are our principles of faith, they are our commandments and they guide us each day as we strive to fulfill our mission and our vision. They are our principles of faith.
Academic Excellence. We provide the highest caliber dual language, integrated curriculum, with state-of-the-art technology. Our progressive curriculum individually nurtures students to become creative, critical and confident thinkers. Graduates are prepared to excel in the finest high schools and colleges.
We have a track record for success. Our students enter high school prepared for not only success, but excellence. Our students go on to the finest colleges and universities and become involved in their communities. Many can trace this back to their years at Bornblum.
Jewish Identity. We inspire pride in being Jewish and a love of Torah in all its forms. We instill an appreciation of Jewish philosophy and religious practices. We foster a deep commitment and lifelong relationship with the Jewish people, the State of Israel and a mastery of its native language, Hebrew.
Our alumni are active in Jewish youth groups, Jewish Fraternities and Sororities, their local Jewish Federations, synagogues and Day Schools. We have alumni who serve on the board of Bornblum, who work in our school and who send their children to school here. Many of our alumni study in Israel, some serving in the IDF and having made Aliyah.
Inclusiveness. We are a community school recognizing and respecting the varied paths to Jewish identity and observance held by our families. We strive to create a school in which all Jewish children learn together in an environment of mutual respect informed by meaningful learning about the diversity of Jewish life and practice and our shared traditions, texts, and language.
Our families represent the entire Jewish community of Memphis. Our families come from diverse, socio-economic, racial and denominational backgrounds. We firmly believe that everyone in our Jewish community can and should feel welcome learning and growing in our school.
Intellectual Curiosity. We encourage intellectual inquiry to create independent thinking, reasoning and learning. Our students develop an acute ability to passionately create and express their own thoughts, which establishes a strong sense of self and a lifetime love of learning.
We want our students to ask questions. Questions allow our staff and faculty to adapt their curriculum to meet the needs and interests of students while maintaining the integrity of standards, skills and benchmarks.
Social Responsibility. We promote social responsibility as a key component of the Bornblum experience. Through Jewish values such as Chesed (Kindness), Tzedakah (Charity) and Tikun Olam (Repairing the World), we graduate responsible citizens with the desire and tools to make a positive difference in their Jewish community and the world in which they live.
Each week we focus on a theme of Menschcraft (something that makes us a better person). Additionally, each month our students participate in a Tzedakah project that will help the broader community. By welcoming siblings of children receiving medical care at St. Jude, visiting from Israel, we teach our students the importance of taking care of others. Our commitment to teaching character values and life skills is evident in our classrooms and hallways.
Affordability. We make a Bornblum education affordable and accessible to any Jewish family wanting a Jewish education for their child through the generosity of the Bornblum Foundation and other community scholarship funds.
We believe that cost should not deter a family from enrolling at Bornblum. We know the value in what we offer and the impact that it has on our Jewish community. We work with all our families to determine how to make this achievable.
Yet, since the tuition we receive, along with the generous support from both the Bornblum Foundation and Memphis Jewish Federation, does not cover the full cost of educating every child at Bornblum, we depend on the community to help fill the gap. That is why, this past week, we kicked off our Annual Campaign to help raise those much needed funds. Be on the lookout in your mailbox for more information or contact the school to learn more about how you can help us reach our goals, fulfill our vision and live our mission.